The Times podcast: Kink at Pride is a mainstay — but for how long?

Tom of Finland library
Marc Ransdell Bellenger, curator of the Tom of Finland Foundation, stands in the Los Angeles home of the late artist. Tom of Finland’s drawings of men in leather became internationally famous.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

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People expressing their sexuality in public by dressing in kink fashions — leather, rubber, furry, dom — have been mainstays of Pride parades and festivals since the earliest celebrations in the 1970s. But some say that as these events enter the mainstream, the kink factor should come down, if not disappear altogether. And the attacks aren’t coming from the right.

Today, we talk about kink: What’s its role in Pride, and how does its expression there benefit not just those who partake, but society in general? Our guests are Yale University professor Joe Fischel, who recently wrote an essay in the Boston Review advocating for kink to stay at Pride, and the president of San Francisco’s Leather and LGBTQ District. (Yeah, it’s a thing.)

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Yale University women’s, gender and sexuality studies professor Joe Fischel, and San Francisco Leather and LGBTQ District president Bob Goldfarb.


More reading:

Can San Francisco’s famed leather district be saved in an era of high property values?

Keep Pride Nude

What are you willing to wear on your next Zoom? Fetish fashion is on the rise

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About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.